ajthefourth: We all know the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” However, this latest scene in the story of Ringo’s destiny was anything but perfect for her. Taking the previous two episodes into account, it was already clear that Ringo’s actions were premeditated; in her words, they were fated or destined. An interesting side effect of specifically using the word practice is that it implies that Ringo is doing something a bit differently than simply following along with what the diary tells her to do. In a way, it casts a different light over her actions, making Ringo an actress who has been given a role to play.
This idea is played up for comedic effect in grand fashion during this latest episode of Mawaru Penguindrum, but also carries with it an interesting connotation. If Ringo is the actress, she takes this specific role of lovestruck teen in a fated relationship most seriously, to the point where she bends her interpretation of what is written in the diary to fit what actually happens. Putting this aside for a moment, the confident attitude that Ringo projects doesn’t stop her from practicing for her various scenes that the diary has spelled out for her. This could insinuate that Ringo herself has a few doubts with what exactly is written in the diary, and how it is supposed to be carried out. After all, if everything is fated, then why practice?
Taking this one step further, if Ringo is the actress and the diary is a script, then who is the director? Several times, we see Ringo tell herself that failure is not an option, referring to carrying out the diary’s plans as a mission. If so, then who has given her this mission to ensure her place as Tabuki’s love interest and why? Following her desperate attempt to force Tabuki into kissing her by diving into a lake (forcing him to save her with CPR), it appears that Ringo will drown. As she begins to accept this, we see Ringo’s mind flash back to being a child and hear her apologize to her mother. Towards the end of episode three, we also heard her talking to her mother via text message, telling her that she had eaten curry with friends; however, curry tasted the best at home. This could be a bit of a stretch, but perhaps her family, or at the very least her mother, has something to do with her burning desire to carry out this mission that has been given to her.
vucubcaquix: Ringo the actress isn’t necessarily contrary to the idea of Ringo the believer. The Diary being a scripture isn’t precluded by it also being a kind of script. In fact, we have a crystal clear instance of Ringo misinterpreting her script/ure after being resuscitated by Shouma, only to come to believing that her fated Tabuki was the one to kiss her. The script calls for a kiss at 4:00, but never explicitly states who is the one to kiss her. She fills in the gaps and interprets the valuable part of this scripture by filling in blanks that weren’t clearly and distinctly perceived by her.
This episode to me seems like an extension of what we stated in our previous colloquium about the dangers of the misinterpretation of venerated words, except that there’s an added layer of theatricality to be considered. The extremist groups I had mentioned, in addition to the countless others that I did not, have all relied on a manner of theatricality regarding the central personalities of their various dogmas. This ensures that the disparate communities that are attracted to the presumably dangerous messages that are being espoused are held together. What leaves me confused, however, is whether Ringo is the central personality in these proceedings, or whether as stated by my partner above, she herself is being manipulated into following and performing and executing these actions at the behest of some other charismatic figure.
ajthefourth: We’re given a hint as to who may be pulling the strings by once again looking at actions surrounding what has been written in the diary. In episode two, the diary states that she found a swallow’s nest, and that Tabuki was surprised when she showed him the picture. If one pays close attention, the two statements aren’t actually linked in any way, and the picture being of the swallow’s nest is an assumption on Ringo’s part. This ties into the validity of the diary itself, and Ringo’s interpretation (or misinterpretation) of what it has to say. Looking at episodes three and this past episode, the diary takes this disassociation one step further by introducing a random occurrence along with what is supposedly to happen between her and Tabuki, almost as if to provide a minute detail to support the idea that everything is fated. A cat randomly appearing, Kanba’s ex-girlfriend (the girl in red heels) being pushed down the escalator, all of these things are out of Ringo’s control, and serve as corroborating evidence that the diary is fate.
However, towards the end of this episode, it seems like one of the yet to be introduced characters from the OP is pulling the strings. We hear her talking with Kanba’s ex-girlfriend over the telephone, saying that they need to strike at him quickly. Later, after the ex suffers a “fated” fall down an escalator, we see the black-stockinged feet of this character surveying the scene. If she is the one behind this, one has to wonder why. In addition to this, she appears to be familiar with Kanba, possibly intimately based on what we know of his character, and seems to bear a grudge against him. At the very least, she possesses a desire to get in the way of his plans, and is willing to dredge up others’ old relationships and possible hard feelings, to do so.
vucubcaquix: Not once was it mentioned by Kanba’s ex-girlfriends that they knew what he was looking for. In fact, the entire scene is played for comedic effect when Kanba exclaims that the encounter must be divine retribution, calling back to Shouma proclaiming his brother’s due. In fact, the scene in the beginning of the episode setting up Kanba’s day foreshadowed the meeting in the restaurant and the message he received that presaged it, which in turn foreshadowed the scene at the end of the episode where Kanba’s ex-girlfriend was assaulted at the escalator. All of these scenes in particular were directly influenced by our mysterious girl in black stockings, which may very well tie in to the idea that the diary is more intrinsically linked to her than it is to Ringo.
These three aforementioned scenes (Shouma’s comment, the restaurant, the escalator) make up the backbone of the episode that thrusts the plot of the narrative forward, whereas the scenes in the park serve as added characterization for Ringo’s character. But the scenes concerning Kanba and the girl in black stockings are the ones that audience will fixate on this coming week, as the details regarding this mysterious girl and her connection to Ringo, Kanba, and the diary will be made known to us.
ajthefourth: The introduction of this black stockinged girl from the OP is definitely the thing that captured my attention and made me excited for next week’s episode. Honestly, I’m hoping to see the main focus of the series shift from Ringo to some of the other main cast members, specifically the Takakura siblings. As I stated in last week’s discussion, I’m particularly interested to learn more about Himari, her past, and her relationship with her brothers. I was a bit disappointed that this was another Ringo-centric episode; however, I liked a lot of what this episode had to offer regardless, especially with Shouma’s reactions to Ringo’s ridiculousness.
vucubcaquix: An episode that seems very light on first glance has some deceptive depth to it. I’m also looking forward to learning more about this girl with the black stockings, as she seems like the type of character that makes an impact wherever she goes. I suppose we’ll just have to wait a week, eh? Have a good night, Emily.
ajthefourth: Have a lovely night, David.